The Belkin Satellite is pleased to present Landmark, an exhibition of work by Cuban-born artist Osvaldo Yero. Yero completed his studies in sculpture and drawing at the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, Cuba and has been exhibiting internationally since 1994. In the early 1990s, Yero was prominent among the Havana-based artists that renewed attention in Cuba’s visual arts scene following the initial success of Cuban émigré artists in the 1980s. Formulated in a period of increasing economic hardship and cultural pressures, which attended the collapse of the Soviet Union, the early work of Yero and his contemporaries was marked by a unique blending of vernacular form, political satire and a keen awareness of the legacy of Pop Art. In 1997 Yero immigrated to Canada after completing a residency in Banff, Alberta.
The artist has noted that throughout his career the sea has remained a constant landmark, both as allegorical figure and as geographical fact, marking the boundary of Cuba and forging a link between Havana and Vancouver. For the exhibition Landmark Yero will mount his large wall installation A Sea of Tears (1997-1998), which was first conceived in Cuba in the mid-1990s and executed during the artist’s residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in between 1997 and 1998. The work is comprised of 750 blue glazed porcelain pieces – each a hybrid of a human hand and a teardrop. Yero developed this iconic form after observing the gestures of people selling makeshift goods on the streets of Havana, a form subsistence in the declining economic conditions of post-Cold War Cuba. The title of his work “a sea of tears” comes from a Cuban idiom used to describe people enduring great suffering. Thus, the work extends to broader considerations of loss, suffering and sadness.
Upon its completion A Sea of Tears toured extensively throughout the United States, though it has never been exhibited in Canada. The installation has been chosen to coincide with and augment Transplant, an exhibition of the artist’s new works opening on April 19th at the grunt gallery. The two-venue project marks the first solo showing of Osvaldo Yero’s work in Canada. A catalogue published by the grunt gallery with an essay by Keith Wallace is forthcoming and will be available free of charge.